As summer heats up in the Hamptons and superyachts, boats and dinghies line the harbors, we've put together this small manual for novice maritime enthusiasts hoping to look seasoned.
Picture yourself on deck after just a little reconnaissance.
Learn to Sail
Sag Harbor Sailing (sailsagharbor.com) offers courses certified by the American Sailing Association and private classes throughout the summer on 23-foot-keel boats. Accredited by the American Sailing Association, Sail Montauk (sailmontauk.com) at Gurney’s Montauk Yacht Club also offers classes, charters and sunset sails.
Decorum may be disappearing on land, but it’s very much alive on the water. Here are some rules to keep in mind: Leave your Manolo stilettos at home (wear boat shoes or light-colored rubber-sole sandals), and if you’re chartering a yacht with captain and crew, heed the suggestion to tip often and generously. And, obviously, no red wine, ever.
Rent or Charter?
Sag Harbor is a principal docking site. Tait Yachts (taityacht.com), right off the docks, charters vessels for day and vacation cruising. You can rent the Maine Cat 41 Solidago with a crew of two, or the 133-foot custom Serque with a crew of eight. One of the most popular boats is Island Girl, a 44-foot Aquila power catamaran with multiple social spaces, offering three lounges and loads of room for kids. A powerful motor means the yacht can go the distance, should you want lunch ashore. Blue Moon, with a crew of 17, unites the interior and exterior flawlessly; elegant salons and staterooms open onto teak decks.
The Maine Cat Solidago, available from Tait Yachts.
Strong’s Marine (strongsmarine.com) offers motor rentals in Mattituck, Southampton and two down-island sites. Rentals range from an 18-foot Grady White CC to a Cobalt SC 25-foot. This boatyard also has the sleek Absolute 40 STL, with a full dining table to host up to six on deck, plus an interior dining area and a full-beam cabin. Strong also hosts the new Sunseeker Predator 50. The British manufacturer of yachts that have starred in four James Bond films has scaled this one down to 54 feet, with a maximum speed of 32 knots, and updated the amenities, including a “beach club” with barbecue and hydraulic bathing platform.
Looking for a smaller sailboat? At Sag Harbor Sailing, qualified sailors can rent a 23-foot Ensign or a 34-foot Catalina, with captain. Sail Montauk also has bareboat rentals at Gurney’s Yacht Club.
Cavaniola’s Gourmet (cavaniolas.com)—praised by Ina Garten and Martha Stewart—sells fine cheeses, wines and other delectables a short walk from the Sag Harbor docks; best to place your order 48 hours in advance. Hamptons Aristocrat (hamptonsaristocrat.com) provides “farm-to-ship” meals delivered dockside for six or more guests. The local organic menu ranges from hors d’oeuvres to lobster tail, filet of beef and poke salad. Round Swamp Farm (roundswampfarm.com) has fresh produce, baked goods, and prepared meals and salads ideal for takeout.
The patio at Duryea’s sits right on the water.
Some popular spots to drop anchor include Robins Island in Peconic Bay, off Shelter Island’s Sunset Beach, and in Coecles Harbor. Dock-friendly Greenport—one of the nation’s oldest ports—has lots of shops and restaurants, including Little Creek Oyster Farm & Market (littlecreekoysters.com), near Mitchell Park Marina, and a beautifully renovated waterfront park with an antique carousel and camera obscura. At East Hampton Point, Moby’s (mobysny.com) offers docking, French fare and a signature rosé, while Duryea’s in Montauk (duryealobsters.com) is a perennial favorite. For all destinations, overnight slips may be available. But be sure to contact the harbormasters in advance.